Letter to Mayor de Blasio

This letter was sent from a concerned medallion owner to
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Aug 6, 2015

Carolyn Protz
New York, NY  10009

Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, NY  10007

I am only one of the thousands of people in New York City whose lives are being destroyed. I am an individual owner of a New York City taxi medallion.

Until 2015 the taxi medallion was part of the American dream.  It has been portrayed as such many times by the TLC, the City Council etc.  Especially when they wanted to sell more medallions.

Because of the lack of enforcement of the existing laws,  what was once a middle class dream and a path to retirement, has now become a nightmare.  The income that I derive from the medallion has been drastically reduced and any possibility of retirement precluded.  I am almost 62 years old.  There is no time to recoup.

The idea of a cap on the thousands of illegal black cars on our streets sounded appealing at first.  Then I came to realize that it would only codify an already bad situation.  You don’t need to ban or limit Uber, Lyft, etc.  In Broward County, Florida all they did was to state that the county would enforce the existing rules and Uber just went away.  You need to do the same thing here to eliminate the illegal street hails(and yes the Ehails are street hails – I’ve seen them).

Word has gotten out about the lack of enforcement.  I live and work in Manhattan.  Every single day I observe taxis and limos from Yonkers, New Jersey, Pennslyvania, Greenburgh, NY just to name a few.  All waiting, iphone in hand for an illegal hail. Where is the enforcement?

Then there is the issue of revenue loss.  By allowing all this illegal activity to take place, New York City cannot sell yellow taxi medallions or collect transfer fees.  The revenue from the MTA fee and disability fee has also been reduced.  I gather you need to find 3 billion dollars for the MTA.  Wouldn’t the 2 billion you could have derived from medallion sales have helped?  I imagine you will have to raise property taxes to close the gaps or will you simply issue more bonds like Puerto Rico?  How much has Uber paid in taxes?  My guess is very little.  The Uber management and drivers cannot even decide whose responsibility it is to pay the 9% sales tax.  In addition to all the lawsuits you are facing you should get ready for a taxpayer lawsuit for financial mismanagement.

Then there is the issue of the Aug. 4th data dump on the TLC website.  Every yellow and green fare, complete with mileage, GPS coordinates,etc.  Now Uber knows everything.  We know almost nothing about them.  They can use this info to adjust their strategies.  Their objective at this time is not to make money in New York City or provide better service or to cater to consumers.  Their objective, with seemingly unlimited financial backing from big players like Goldman Sachs, is to destroy the medallion system and the yellow cab industry.  After that is accomplished perhaps they will make money in NY or maybe they will do the IPO, unload on the greater fools, blow up and leave a wake of total destruction, wiping out 7 billion in bank loans and thousands of hardworking NYC families, your constituents, who only tried to play by the rules.

When the Nazis invaded Ukraine in 1941, at first the Ukrainians welcomed them with open arms.  The Nazis had nice shiny cars, pressed uniforms and polished boots.  They were well organized and disciplined.  Ukrainian peasants were very impressed and they thought the Nazis would help them get rid of the Soviets.  What could go wrong?  That did not end well did it?

One last point.  Has it occurred to anyone that Uber is a multinational.  Once the various international trade bills (TPP, TTIP, etc.)  are implemented, they won’t be subject to local , state or national law, such as environmental rules.  If you infringe on a multinational they will take their complaint to an international court where most likely the court will decide in their favor.  And by the way, New York City has already lost much of its sovereignty (See Hail Act).

It’s time to stop talking, negotiating, studying, having meetings.  It’s time for someone to stand up and speak truth to power.  Is that someone you?

Very truly yours,

Carolyn Protz